The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) administers the workers' compensation system in Ontario, Canada. Documents obtained from WSIB under a Freedom of Information request provide concerning evidence of systemic imbalance at the peril of workers afflicted by occupational diseases and their families - particularly workers in mining, building trades, and factory work, who are at high risk of developing occupational diseases.
An open letter video to the Ontario WSIB by the founder of the McIntyre Powder Project is posted under the "Links" section of this website. Please take the time to view this video, which outlines critical flaws in the workers' compensation system and provides the rationale and evidence needed for us to change the system. Thank you!
Uranium Miners who participated in the Sputum Cytology program can now request copies of their records from the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.
The sputum cytology program was a voluntary screening program for uranium miners to monitor cell changes in their sputum (spit) to screen for possible lung cancer.
The data historically collected from uranium miners under the sputum cytology program was stored on floppy discs. Some of that data was recovered, and personal records can be requested by each individual miner or their Estate by contacting the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada by phone, letter, or email. Please see contact information below, as provided by the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada.
Contact: Curtis B. Caldwell, Chief Scientist, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada
Address: 100 Sheppard Ave East, Suite 760, Toronto, ON M2N 6N5
Phone: 1-416-650-9090 ext. 25
Andrew Zarnke and colleagues have analyzed the physical and chemical characteristics of canisters of McIntyre Powder. Their results are now published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (see "JOEH McIntyre Powder analysis" under "Links").
One of the critically important findings from this research is that the size of McIntyre Powder particles is extremely small. McIntyre Powder was found to be comprised of particles that are in the fine particulate and ultrafine particulate (nanoparticle) size range.
Inhaled nanoparticles have the potential to enter the bloodstream from the lung and travel to other areas of the body. Future research on the potential health consequences of McIntyre Powder inhalation will continue, now that we have a solid understanding of its physical and chemical properties.
Since 2016, over 500 McIntyre Powder-exposed miners and mine workers have registered with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. (OHCOW). A dedicated OHCOW multidisciplinary team (administrative, leadership, nursing, occupational hygiene, and medical) continues to investigate the possible links between workplace exposures and health issues found in this group of workers who were historically exposed to McIntyre Powder (aluminum oxide dust).
As part of this work, OHCOW's McIntyre Powder Project team is conducting scientific literature reviews on occupational and environmental exposures and health conditions, focusing on health issues found among the McIntyre Powder-exposed worker group. OHCOW has produced reports on their reviews, which are now publicly available online at OHCOW's website, www.ohcow.on.ca. These reports provide important information for workers and their advocates for purposes of workers' compensation cases. Additional reports will be available in the coming months, and will also posted to the OHCOW website. The OHCOW "Mining Exposures & Health" reports will be updated as new scientific literature becomes available.
A direct link to the OHCOW reports is posted on our McIntyre Powder Project website (see "OHCOW Mining Exposures and Health", under the "Links" tab on the top menu bar).
Thank you to OHCOW for this groundbreaking work!
In April 2015, the McIntyre Powder Project began compiling a voluntary registry, documenting health issues experienced by mine workers (and in one case, a factory worker) who had been exposed to McIntyre Powder aluminum dust. To date, 500 workers have registered with the McIntyre Powder Project or were registered by their surviving next of kin. Nearly 200 are deceased - 38 of whom died since the MPP voluntary registry was established.
Most of the workers have multiple diagnosed health conditions and/or symptoms, with respiratory problems affecting 317 (172 with diagnosed conditions, 145 with symptoms but no diagnosis, 12 have sarcoidosis). Neurological conditions were reported for 153 workers, including 99 with diagnosed conditions and 58 with symptoms but no diagnosis (55 of which involved memory issues). Of the diagnosed neurological conditions, there are 44 with Parkinson's, 31 with Alzheimer's, 17 with dementia, and 7 with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). 121 workers report cardiovascular conditions. Cancers were reported for 110 workers, 51 of which were lung cancer, and 4 with multiple myeloma.
The McIntyre Powder aluminum prophylaxis program was a human experiment. Documenting the health issues experienced by the affected workers and seeking answers for those workers and their surviving families remains the life work of the McIntyre Powder Project. Many thanks to those who have contributed their stories. Your courage is making history and changing the future for those at risk for occupational disease.